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Without effective and proper networking techniques, you may not be maximizing your time while attending events or when reaching out to other professionals. While people have their own networking style that works for them, it may not work for others.
You need to do what works best for you and your personality. At the same time, it never hurts to learn new ideas about networking from other professionals who have been successful.
Learn From Speakers, Trainers
From time to time, you may notice that events or seminars exist where a professional is speaking about networking. Take these events seriously if you want to improve your networking.
Most of these professionals are speaking from experience and you will have a chance to learn about networking techniques that have worked for others. Some of the ideas talked about will resonate with you while others may not work for you.
Some professionals train others for a living on how to become better communicators or networkers. You usually have to pay for these services, which could last an entire day or just a few hours.
If you need a refresher on networking and would like to get advice from an expert, you might want to consider signing up for one of these seminars. It's worth your time if you come away with one new idea. Also, what you learn may reinforce some of your own networking techniques.
One such professional that can help you improve your communication and networking skills is Lillian Bjorseth of Chicago-based Duoforce
. She is a speaker, trainer and author who can train you on how to become a master networker. Her Web site offers upcoming speaking engagements and information about how you can contact her to speak at your company or event.
Another Chicago-based professional who can help you become a better networker is career expert Rob Sullivan
. His most recent event, which was called "Networking Without Schmoozing," took place on Wednesday. His Web site also provides upcoming speaking engagements and information about how to contact him for professional advice.
Read Articles, Books
Another great way to learn about networking is by reading articles and books written by experts. These are great resources that can put your networking efforts into perspective.
Because many of these writers are also professional speakers, you may be able to learn from them in more than one way. Regardless, reading about networking is a great way to learn some new techniques.
Some of these writers walk you through exercises that can help you to focus your networking while others give you quick and basic networking information that's easy to remember. Depending on your level of networking sophistication, you can find articles or books that will be helpful for your current style or take you to the next level.
If you do a general search on the Internet, you will come across many articles on networking. If you search on Amazon.com for networking books, you will come across many of them as well. Written by Bjorseth, an excellent book that provides basic and advanced networking concepts is called "Breakthrough Networking".
Seek Advice From Your Colleagues
An easy way to learn about networking is to talk to people you know. Brainstorm with your colleagues about their networking style to find out what works and what doesn't work for them.
At the same time, share with them your networking techniques so they can also learn from you. If you're unsure of some of your techniques, ask your colleagues for their opinions and whether they have a better way for you to perform some of these techniques.
If you're not sure what to do in certain situations, ask your colleagues for their advice because they may have been in a similar situation. As always, it's helpful to learn from others who have networking success stories to share.
By reaching out to other professionals for networking advice, people in return may seek advice from you. After all, each person uses different networking techniques that work for some and not for others.
When you share advice back with your network, you are continuing to build your relationships. This is very important for networking. It is essentially indirect networking, which occurs when you don't realize it's happening.
No one is perfect with networking. It's important to learn from other professionals whether they are networking experts or your colleagues. If you're serious about becoming a better networker, take the learning process seriously by listening to professional speakers and reading about networking.
Be proactive with your networking and seek advice from others who have been successful with certain networking techniques.
Jason Jacobsohn currently serves as the president of the DePaul Entrepreneurs Association (DEA) and sits on the board of the DePaul Business & Technology Alumni Network. He also operates his own business and networking resources Web site at Jacobsohn.com
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The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.